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Edward H. Ip, Santiago Saldana, Grisel Trejo, Sarah A. Marshall, Cynthia K. Suerken, Wei Lang, Thomas A. Arcury and Sara A. Quandt

Background:

Obesity disproportionately affects children of Latino farmworkers. Further research is needed to identify patterns of physical activity (PA) in this group and understand how PA affects Body Mass Index (BMI) percentile.

Methods:

Two hundred and forty-four participants ages 2.5 to 3.5 in the Niños Sanos longitudinal study wore accelerometers that measured daily PA. Several PA-related parameters formed a profile for conducting hidden Markov modeling (HMM), which identified different states of PA.

Results:

Latino farmworker children were generally sedentary. Two different states were selected using HMM—less active and more active. In the more active state; members spent more minutes in moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Most children were in the less active state at any given time; however, switching between states occurred commonly. One variable—mother’s concern regarding lack of PA—was a marginally significant predictor of membership in the more active state. State did not predict BMI or weight percentile after adjusting for caloric intake.

Conclusion:

Most children demonstrated high amounts of sedentary behavior, and rates of MVPA fell far below recommended levels for both states. The lack of statistically significant results for risk factors and PA state on weight-related outcomes is likely due to the homogeneous behaviors of the children.